CommBank recently conducted a nationwide study on the evolving landscape for general practices, focussing on how they can a deliver better patient experiences and outcomes. Released in April and entitled Commbank GP Insights, the results highlighted the increasing use of technology in connecting doctors with patients.
Here, we take a look at those results, what elements influence patient satisfaction, and provide advice on how you can action such measures and improve patient interaction at your practice.
Patient want options for managing and booking appointments
A key driver of patient satisfaction is having access to options for booking and managing their appointments. Just over half (51%) of all patients surveyed said they were very satisfied with the booking options offered at their practice – indicating many practices still have room to improve in this area.
With the ability to book or manage appointments online seen as appealing by almost 9 in 10 (89%) patients, there’s never been a better time to start offering this service at your practice.
Providing an Online Booking System is one way of increasing your accessibility to patients. It allows them to go online and book when their moment of need arises, 24 hours a day. For example, if a child falls ill during the night, it provides the parent with some peace of mind knowing they can instantly book an appointment to see their GP the next day.
A good online booking system will also allow patients to reschedule their appointments themselves if necessary, without having to call through to reception. In this way, it can also assist patients who may be sensitive to calling due to conditions such as social anxiety.
Patients want to be reminded with notifications
Three-quarters of practices agreed that leveraging technology and communication channels helps improve their quality of care for patients. Indeed, patients are showing an increasing appetite for using technology to communicate with practices and to self-manage health bookings.
91% of patients find SMS/email appointment reminders appealing, whilst 88% are in favour of receiving personalised reminders for periodical check-ups and tests
Practices are aware of this increased demand. When asked how patient expectations have changed over the last 2 years, 87% of practices quoted increased demand for proactive reminders for tests and check-ups.
HealthEngine offers complete reminders and recalls solutions, for one fixed monthly fee. You can use SMS, emails and/or in-app notifications to keep your patients reminded about their appointments. It even includes the ability to send 2 customisable SMS reminders (such as the day before followed by a few hours before). And when it comes to recalls, our SMS product is RACGP security compliant, and will save your front desk or nursing staff hundreds of hours and dollars.
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Patients want to offer feedback, and Practices want to collect it
93% of practices agreed that patient feedback is important in helping to initiate change at their practice. Many had multiple feedback mechanisms in place, from paper surveys to asking ad-hoc questions.
If you want to ensure that patient feedback helps you to keep your current patients happy, attract more patients and assist your practice management team in improving the patient experience all round, we suggest underpinning everything with a simple, standardised approach.
Practices using HealthEngine get patient feedback through a completely free feedback management tool called Patient Pulse.
Patients of HealthEngine practices are sent a quick 2-question survey (as outlined above) after their appointment to assess the success of their patient interaction. The practice then receives this feedback via their Healthengine portal on an easy-to-use dashboard.
One thing is clear from CommBank’s GP Insights Report; patients are becoming increasingly aligned with technology that enables them to manage their health appointments and communicate with their practice.
HealthEngine’s own research data indicates that one of the main reasons patients leave a practice is because they don’t offer technology such as online bookings. A digital presence is no longer an added bonus, but a necessary service to align with changing patient expectations. Practices who invest in the quality of their digital communications will not only enhance their levels of patient experience, but will be rewarded with increased patient loyalty.
Need advice on how to move your practice forward in the digital age? Our team are always happy to chat through options to help your practice succeed.